Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia

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Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia is a common fast heart rhythm disturbance. It can occur in patients with structural heart disease, but more frequently in individuals, often young, with a normal heart. Unlike ventricular tachycardia, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia is normally not life-threatening unless it occures in association with structural heart disease or other severe systemic diseases.

There are different types of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Atrioventricular node reentrant tachycardia and atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia using an accessory pathway (Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, WPW) are the most common supraventricular tachycardia.

Although paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia is generally benign, it often causes significant and recurrent symptoms, such as palpitations (racing heart beats, or fluttering in the heart), shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, and even syncope (transient loss of conciousness and collaps).

Medical therapy with antiarrhythmic drugs is frequently suboptimal. Drug side effects for long term use are concerns. Catheter ablation for a cure is a well-established therapy with excellent outcome (95% or better success rate) and minimal risk (1% or less complication rate).